No Frill Cooking: Thai Basil Chicken (a spin-off)

For those of you that don’t know, I really enjoy cooking.

It’s one of those longstanding hobbies that has a very real reward at the end – a great dish or dessert that I can stuff my face with. No need for a four-month wait to see my scarf finally taking shape, or maybe an even less tangible reward in the form of a ‘revitalized spirit’ (or whatever that is supposed to mean).

Last week, I wanted to try making Thai Basil Chicken. Too bad I had neither the basil nor the chicken. So I made Thai Basil Chicken Without The Chicken and The Basil. It came out pretty damn good the first time, if I say so myself. Yesterday I made it again, tweaking the recipe – cranking up spice level, making the sauce less salty, and adding vegetables to make this a more balanced one-pot meal for the family.

Here I present to you the recipe. If you haven’t noticed, it is in no way authentic, and nor do I claim to know anything about cooking, or even Thai cuisine for that matter. If I offended anyone, I’m sorry. Now, without further ado…

Thai Basil Chicken (ish) – Without The Basil and The Chicken

To serve 4 people, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 800g pork shoulder, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 capsicums, chopped roughly
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy suace
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 5 dried chillis
  • 3-4 shallots
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Finely mince the garlic, dried chillies and shallots. (A food processor will make the job easier, but a pestal and mortar will work fine as well.)
  2. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil. Add in the minced mixture and stir fry until aromatic, or when garlic turns golden.
  3. At this point, add in your chopped up pork, and brown the meat. This should take around 5 minutes.
  4. Dump in your chopped veges. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine these ingredients to make your sauce: light soy, dark soy, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and water. Pour the sauce into the wok.
  6. Coat the pork and veges evenly with the sauce, then put the lid on. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. (Make sure to check on it occasionally so that it doesn’t burn!)
  7. After which, check if the sauce is of the correct consistency. The sauce should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce is still too runny, cook for a bit longer to let the excess water evaporate.
  8. Once done, serve immediately with piping hot white rice.

Viola, you’re done!


if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: The New MRT Map Display Panel

It seems that SMRT has been hard at work lately.

The East-West Line extension will be open to the public on June 18, signal testing is in the works for the North South Line, and it looks like a system update has been implemented for the MRT display of some trains.

While I’m not sure if this new system will be put in place for all new trains, I believe that this will  be the case at least for the North-South Line (or more affectionately referred to as the ‘Red Line’) for now. I had my first encounter with the new system on Sunday night, when I boarded the train towards Marina Bay from Jurong East Station.

To summarise the change simply, the usual physical MRT map pasted above the doors of the cabins have been replaced. In its place is a new electronic screen divided into two segments. The one of the left has has this has a zoomed-in map of the current, and next four stations. The one on the right displays a good-for-nothing island map, with an outline of the island MRT routes running through. After doors open at every stop, the display changes to show a countdown timer until the doors close.

I didn’t manage to take any pictures or videos on that day, but if you need a visual reference, do watch this clip uploaded by

Anyway, back to the story. I was horrified by the update – I didn’t see what purpose this change served at all. A summary of the problems below:

Removing the physical MRT Map –
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about making everything electronic – I do belong to the digital age, after all. But there’s really some major problems that haven’t been considered before this change was implemented.

SMRT couldn’t even get their shit together in the past, when all they had to do was switch on the correct lighting indicators on the physical map to show the train journey. Stations were indicated wrongly, people got on the train and got off – thinking they boarded the wrong train because the lighting indicators showed that the train was going in the opposite direction. You had one job back then, and you couldn’t do it. What makes you think you can do it now?

Another problem – what’s your back-up plan if the screens burn?

Only displaying the current and next four stops
What if I want to switch lines? Where is the next interchange? How will I know that?

That fancy island map display with the MRT route running through –
Someone please explain this one to me. WHAT IS THE POINT? The only purpose I can come up with is for aesthetic reasons – and even that leaves a lot to be desired.

The countdown to train doors closing –
I’m not so angry about this one – it is a thoughtful addition – just not well thought out enough. These displays are inside the train…the people concerned about the countdown are outside, those rushing to get into the train. The commuters that are safely inside are already tapping on their phones – they could care less about the countdown and when the train doors close.

— end of rant —

Well, that felt good.

I did some research, and realised that this new electronic system DID have a purpose to serve (shocker, I know). It’s so that the MRT staff won’t have to physically amend the MRT map of every train and every cabin in future, whenever there is a new line/station/interchange. I can appreciate that, but I don’t think this is the way to go about it. There are ways to make a system electronic and more efficient, without making it dumb. MacDonald’s managed to do it with their ordering kiosks. Shopping malls managed to do it with their directories. I believe you can do it too, MRT gods. But until you can come up with something that works, please just focus on making your trains run. That’s all we’re asking for and it’s the least you could do.



jobless, aimless & bored

At the beginning of this year, I started working at StarHub as one of their call centre temp staff. Last week, I quit – for a multitude of reasons. And now I’m jobless, aimless, and very, very bored.

For the first couple of days of unemployed life, I did nothing but ate, slept and watched (or mostly, RE-watched) dramas. I refined my drama stash (re-downloaded those available in higher quality, deleted some older dramas to make space for the newer ones, etc.). I went out (quite a fair bit), I spent money. A lot of it.

And along the way I rekindled my love for the drama Faith (Korean time travel drama, 2012, starring Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun). The directing and editing leaves a lot to be desired, but somehow watching it again made me love it as much as I did the first time (or even more so).

Oh, and before I forget, I went to watch a Chinese Orchestra concert too! One of the pieces was a medley of the Goblin OST. So much feels, I could barely contain them. Reminds me of why I love live orchestra performances, and how much I adored the Goblin soundtrack. Seriously. Even if the plot might seem draggy (admittedly, it is), it is a very epic drama with very epic directing/editing/acting/soundtracks. Take my word for it. In fact, this rekindled love for the soundtrack might drive me to pick up the piano again to learn the some of the pieces. Both vocal and instrumental pieces were GREAT.

I plan to find and start a new job in July. I’ll probably resume the job search in mid-June – right now I’m not working too hard at it. In the mean time, I might catch Wonder Woman with my sister soon, or hopefully resume swimming regularly because I feel my belly rolls expanding. (For some strange reason, as I type this, my brain affectionately inserts images of korean BBQ…)

Today, I’ll leave you with a quote someone showed me last week. I slept on it and thought it was great.

Everyone can taste success when the going is easy, but few know how to taste victory when times get tough. -Byron Pulsifer

See you soon! -Q

do it first, regret later.

It has been around 3 months since I rashly decided to submit my UCAS application, preparing for enrollment into a UK university.

Since then, I have come up with countless explanations for my decision.

Ah, but as we all know, there are always two kinds of factors that lead to a particular outcome. A trigger can lead me to choose to go overseas – this is usually the less mature and justifiable reason –  but what sustains this, after the initial push? I owe this to my matured (I cringe as I say this, but trust me IT’S THE TRUTH) self, who is finally thinking about how to live this life as fruitfully as I can.

I turn nineteen this year. Nineteen years of my entire life, I spent in Singapore. This is the place I was born, raised, and all of my education up till now was experienced here. I know this city state all too well, and while I do know that you can never know everything about a place, I believe that at this point, I know enough.

And truth to be told, even if I don’t, it is completely fine. I do know that my roots are here, and I will come back here no matter what. I have the rest of my life to learn about Singapore when I come back. Why I want to go someplace new now, is to get away from the all too familiar environment here. Things are getting too comfortable and stagnant – there is nothing that will drive me to change. I, too, will get comfortable and stagnant. I, too, will not improve.

If I do decide to study abroad, this will be a different story. I will be going there alone, alone in a different country for the first time. I will be thrown into an unfamiliar environment, with people very different from me. I will be afraid, but I will also learn to adapt. Adapt, change, grow – I really hope I become a person better than I am right now.

Also, when else will I get a similar opportunity? I want to challenge myself while I’m still young, throw myself into unfamiliar situations where I can make mistakes and grow. The best time to do so is now, when I still have no significant responsibilities upon my shoulders.

And it’s not because I am a person that likes doing new things, either. I despise change and unfamiliarity. I am that person who hates the first day of school, because I have so many things to worry about: getting lost, not having any friends, just to name a few. Yet, I am pushing myself to go through with this, because I know that this is not an opportunity to be passed up on. Pro Tip: If you know you’re afraid of doing something, but know that it’s good for you, just do it anyway. Throw yourself into it, and when it’s too late to back out, then great! Now you have no choice but to follow through with it. (Seriously this is how I roll.)

Friends, take that opportunity that you’re afraid of. DO IT. Most people regret what they DIDN’T do, not what they did.

Best of luck! -Q


Some of you might not know, but I turn nineteen in December.

Nineteen as an age confuses me. There’s ‘teen’ in ‘nineteen’ – so this means that I’m still a teenager, right? But then there’s the fact that after nineteen, everything from here on starts with ‘twenty-‘. Your age beginning with the number ‘two’ – this opens the door to responsibilities, work life, and anything ‘adult’.

At nineteen, do I start worrying about the concept of time running out? The idea of how many years I have left. Do I count from here on, the number of years I will take to complete university, to enter the workforce, to take my masters, to get married, to have kids, to retire… Does all this planning start now?

Do I factor in how my current gap year is going to affect me? It puts me one year behind my peers – I enter the workforce one year later than the rest, I have one year less of experience… Am I one year behind schedule?

Or do I immerse myself in the idea of ‘what if’s – thinking of every possible hypothetical situation?

No, I do none of the above.

I have migrated here.

Hi friends,

If you have been directed here from my old blog, you would know that I am migrating here permanently.

Selected posts have been uploaded here as well, though not all. No worries as I won’t be deleting the old blog – it will still exist, just that I will no longer be posting there. For new readers that have never seen my old blog, do check it out here!

Well, that’s it for now. New posts coming soon. Until next time! -Q

2k17: an update

Ah, it is now 2017.
I know that April barely started, but you wouldn’t believe how much has happened from the last time I updated, up to this present moment.Just a few updates:
I turned 18! Yes, finally, at long last, hallelujah! The wait has been long. And wouldn’t you believe it – turning eighteen was as boring as I expected it to be.
I graduated from Junior College! Still can’t decide whether the span of two years is a short or long period… I’m only glad that this is all over.
I experienced my first (two) heartbreaks! That really didn’t deserve an exclamation mark.
I got my first full time job! Very frustrating, but it pays the bills (or rather, my online shopping expenses), so I can’t complain too much.
I am now eligible to apply for undergrad enrollment! YAS. I’m not really excited to study, but more glad that I did well enough to actually get to choose what I want to study. Interests so far: politics, psychology, linguistics?
That’s it for now, folks. Might upload a short story some time soon.
Happy reading!
With love,